Saints march, 71-61, in OT to snap Loyola win streak Greyhounds get 1st loss in women's MAAC race

January 15, 1998|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

After leading in a tight ballgame only a couple of times all evening, the Loyola women forced overtime against Siena only to get thumped in the extra session and lose, 71-61, at Reitz Arena last night.

The setback snapped a seven-game win streak by Loyola and was the Greyhounds' first loss in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference after four successes. Meanwhile, the visiting Saints increased their winning streak to seven after starting out 0-5 and they lead the MAAC with a 4-0 mark.

The margin of separation between the teams never exceeded five points after an early 21-14 Siena lead. Loyola had three leads in the second half but, with just over a minute remaining, trailed by three at 57-54.

Mary Anne Kirsch, who scored a team-high 17 points before fouling out, tied it up with a basket from the lane and one of two free throws. Loyola appeared to have momentum.

It vanished quickly, however, when Janel Hollar hit a wide-open three-pointer to start overtime. "It was strictly a case of miscommunication," Greyhounds coach Pat Coyle said.

"Our zone had been bothering them all night, but then we had that one bad moment being in a man-to-man. That was a huge shot."

It was followed by a nifty bank shot by Siena's Melanie Halker, who had game highs of 27 points and 13 rebounds, and, suddenly Loyola couldn't buy a basket.

"We certainly had the shots," Coyle said. "We just didn't make 'em."

Halker went on a run of nine straight points, which was a big difference from the way she started the game, hitting only three of nine shots for six points by halftime.

"When that happens," said Halker, a junior center, "I stop looking for my shot a little bit, knowing one of my teammates is going to be open. And I also concentrate on rebounding."

Five of Siena's seven straight wins have been on the road, attesting to the toughness and resilience of the team. "We didn't change anything," coach GinaCastelli said of the turnaround.

"When we lost the first five, the players got together and said, 'Let's stop it now.' Our chemistry has been better ever since."

Pub Date: 1/15/98

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